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Police video shows Blevins' final moments

Minneapolis police released body cam footage of the shooting death of 31-year-old Thurman Blevins. Police say Blevins had a gun when police shot him on June 23.

Posted: Jul 31, 2018 12:51 PM
Updated: Jul 31, 2018 1:09 PM

Two Minneapolis police officers who fatally shot an armed suspect after a foot chase last month will not face criminal charges in the killing, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement.

Thurman Blevins, 31, was shot on June 23 after police received a call of a man firing a handgun into the air and into the ground in a residential area in Minneapolis.

The foot chase and fatal shooting of Blevins, who was African-American, was caught on both officers' police body-cameras, and the video footage was released to the public by the city.

Freeman said the officers, who are both white, fired only after Blevins grabbed his loaded firearm and turned toward the officers. Based on evidence from the crime scene, interviews with witnesses, and police body-camera footage, Freeman said the officers were authorized to fatally shoot Blevins.

"When Mr. Blevins fled from the officers with a loaded handgun, refused to follow their commands for him to stop and show his hands and then took the gun out of his pocket and turned toward the officers, Mr. Blevins represented a danger to the lives of Officer [Justin] Schmidt and Officer [Ryan] Kelly," Freeman said in a statement.

But members of Blevins' family said he was not a threat to police and should not have been killed. Amid chants of "Black Lives Matter" at a news conference Freeman held on Monday, the family called for justice and for the officers to be arrested.

"The family is hurt. The family is devastated," said Sydnee Brown, Blevins' cousin.

What the body cameras show

The police body-camera footage shows Minneapolis officers Kelly and Schmidt encounter Blevins on the afternoon of June 23. The officers say they see a gun in his waistband and immediately jump out of the vehicle toward him.

Blevins flees from the officers as they chase him and yell for him to stop, put his hands up, and drop the gun.

"Put your hands up!" Schmidt says.

"I haven't done nothing, bro," Blevins says.

"You've got a gun, motherf-----!" the officer responds.

The officers chase Blevins for about two blocks through the neighborhood and then down an alley. At that point, police say Blevins took the gun out of his pocket and turned toward the officers.

The raw body-camera video does not clearly show this. However, the National Center for Audio and Video Forensics released an enhanced version of the video in which they circle an object that officials say is a gun. A police union official also said the officers fired only after Blevins fired at them.

The officers fired 14 shots at Blevins, and four struck him, Freeman said. Blevins was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds. The entire incident, from their first encounter to the fatal shots, lasted less than a minute.

A gun was recovered next to Blevins' body, police said. Analysis of the crime scene released by Hennepin County shows that one cartridge case was recovered near Blevins' body and was determined to have been fired by his gun.

In addition, Hennepin County identified a civilian eyewitness who reported that he saw Blevins pull a gun out from his pocket and turn to his left before officers opened fire. The eyewitness did not see Blevins fire his gun.

'Justice for Jun'

At the Monday news conference, Freeman attempted to announce and explain the decision not to file charges. However, members of Blevins' family interrupted the press conference and cut him off as they called for "Justice for Jun," Blevins' nickname.

"We're not angry, we're more so disgusted," Brown said. "We're disgusted by the leaders of the world, we're disgusted by the leaders of Minneapolis and Minnesota."

When the family interrupted the news conference, Freeman left the podium and went to a side room. He later released the rest of his explanation on Hennepin County's website.

Kevin Short, the attorney for Schmidt, one of the officers, said in a statement: "The use of deadly force by these two officers was clearly justified. Their independent decisions to use deadly force arose from their belief that Mr. Blevins was going to kill them."

He said the June 23 incident was a "tragic situation for the family and friends of Mr. Blevins, that does not take away from the fact that what happened was dictated by the actions of Mr. Blevins."

Lt. Bob Kroll, the president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, defended the officers' actions.

"They located the suspect, gave numerous orders for him to reply, pursued the suspect as he fled. They were forced to fire at the suspect only after he pointed a gun and fired at the officers," Kroll said.

"The officers did exactly what the public expects them to do," he added.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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